Ada McMahon's blog

On Monday, April 20th, Gulf Coast fisherfolk, residents, and artists gathered at BP's Houston headquarters to speak out about the ongoing impacts of the BP oil disaster. Advocates said fisheries and the communities that depend on them are in serious decline. “When BP says it has done right for the Gulf, they are lying,” said Thao Vu* of Biloxi, Mississippi, "Less than 18% of the health claims submitted have been approved and even fewer have actually been paid out. While BP plays games with our media and with our court system, our fishing families are sick and suffering.”

I’m Darin Acosta. I grew up in Norco, Louisiana. That’s influenced a lot of work and research that I do. Most of my creative output centers around industrialization in the River Parishes. I went to graduate school for urban and regional planning at UNO (University of New Orleans), where I learned GIS (geographic information system), so I apply GIS  to my creative work in order to introduce users to environmental justice histories in the region that I grew up in. 

In January, the fourth Extreme Energy Extraction Summit came to Biloxi, Mississippi, and brought with it organizers and activists from across North America who face issues such as coal mining and mountaintop removal in Appalachia, uranium mining in New Mexico, fracking in Pennsylvania and North Dakota, and tar sands mining in Canada. To kick-off the gathering, Cherri Foytlin with Bridge The Gulf organized a day-long tour that grounded participants in some of the extreme energy challenges facing Gulf Coast communities.

On Wednesday, advocates and neighbors protested the plan to build a new school on the site of the former Booker T. Washington High, because of concerns over toxic contamination. The site was home to the Silver City / Clio Street Dump from the 1890s through the 1930s.

“The world must know what they [BP] have done to this community. This place could have been a paradise.” Those are the words of Byron Encalade, president of Louisiana Oystermen’s Association and the face of a beautiful and devastating new documentary film, Vanishing Pearls.

How does mailing books to prisoners connect to throwing dance parties in a bankrupt city? What does making a film about coastal land loss have in common with using hand signals to create focus in a 2nd grade classroom?

These are all ways people in New Orleans and Detroit are using media to respond to disasters, both macro and micro. These stories, and more, came out when we took our Deep Dialogues series (hosted by WTUL News & Views and Bridge The Gulf Project) on the road to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference.


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